There are some non-recreational activities, such as aerial photography, wildlife observation, environmental monitoring, etc., that seem well-suited to certain amateur-built aircraft. The open-cockpit Lockwood AirCam, which I understand was specifically designed with back-country nature photography and videography in mind, is just one example. Yet FAA regulations relating to airworthiness certificates appear to make no allowance whatsoever for an amateur-built experimental aircraft to be used for non-recreational/non-educational purposes. Am I misreading the regulations? Is there a legal way to use a homebuilt airplane for, say, commercial aerial photography?
According to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), aircraft with Experimental/Amateur-Built airworthiness certificates cannot be used for commercial purposes. However, I cannot find an FAA reg that specifically says that. (Anybody else know of a reg that says that?)
There are other grey areas as well. For example, what if your insurance is requiring dual instruction in the type before they will issue you a policy? The CFI would be using your aircraft for commercial purposes, even if you can legally claim you're the Pilot-in-Command.
However, the FAA talks about what things you cannot do without a commercial pilot license -- fly passengers or cargo for hire. My suggestion is that if you want to use your amateur-built aircraft for commercial photography, call your local FSDO and ask about that. Be nice to them and you'll be impressed how nice they can be to you.